5 Reasons Why Google Photos Might Be the Perfect Solution for Your Music Studio

Are you looking for a better way to organize and store photos and videos?

Would you love an easy way to share those special clips directly with students and their families – especially those that aren’t a part of social media (yes, they exist).

Google Photos might be YOUR perfect solution!

My husband and I are PC users. He’s in the business world so that’s just how it goes in our house. For years I tried but never loved iCloud Photos. The interface just didn’t feel good to me and I was frustrated and unhappy.

For years I was hoping for a way to store photos and videos that would easily allow me to tag photos of multiple students on one photo.

Don’t laugh, but in the old old days, I even tried renaming every photo on my desktop file manager to include the name of each student that was in the photo.

This was a TERRIBLE idea but I was desperate.

I felt like I had the rest of my digital life organized and in order but photos were getting the best of me.

Then I met fellow Louisville-based piano teacher Daniel Light at a session I was giving to the teachers of Louisville MTA and he changed my world forever by introducing me to Google Photos!

Today, I want to share with you five reasons why Google Photos may answer your needs (as they did mine) for a better media storage solution.

Continue reading

Friday Finds #150

Top 25 and a Giveaway!

Wow, I can’t believe we’ve hit another milestone of Friday Finds once again! It seems like just yesterday I was putting together the celebration post for #100, but that was more than a year ago!

After #100, I took the Summer of 2018 off of Friday Finds and there have been a few random weeks missed here and there which is why we are more than 50 weeks past #100.

In #100, I shared a HUGE list of the top 100 items from the first two and a half years of Friday Finds posts. That was A LOT to recap, so moving forward, celebrating in 50-week increments seemed a little more manageable!

To make it even more of the best of the best, I’ve trimmed down this week’s celebration list to the top 25 finds from the past 50 weeks. All of these items are ones that, when looking back, still stuck out to me as extra special, interesting, or things I still absolutely love.

You’re getting them in alphabetical order. At the end, you’ll find a giveaway!

Continue reading

147 Tunes to Harmonize Updated

Just a quick note to let you guys know that I recently did a small update to the free download 147 Tunes to Harmonize: Traditional, Popular, and Christmas.

I couldn’t believe it when I saw how many hundreds of you have downloaded this freebie!

Here are a few quick ideas on how you could use it:

  1. Pull it out when students forget their materials or haven’t practiced enough on their pieces.
  2. Use it for a month-long focus on harmonization.
  3. Practice harmonizing these tunes on your own to develop your own ear!
  4. At Christmas time, have students choose one piece off the list that they’re not learning as part of their Christmas repertoire and have them play that Christmas tune with chords while they sing!


P.S. I would definitely recommend printing it out and keeping it next to the piano at all times!

Happy harmonizing!

Christmas Gift Round-Up!

A couple of years ago I shared quite a few ideas for great Christmas gifts to give to your music students.

Since not much time has passed since that post, I only have one new idea to add to my original list, so I thought it might be fun to also give you links to everyone else’s ideas too!


First, a Tip!

Before I give you my round-up, I do have one new BIG TIP to share:

Keep a list of what you give your students each year!

The first year I opened my studio, I didn’t record the gift I gave and I regretted it because it is SOOOO nice to be able to look back and see what you’ve done recently.

Keeping a list means that you can easily repeat gifts with confidence.

This year, I’m cycling back and giving a gift that I did six years ago which means I’m confident a large majority of my students haven’t received this gift from me!

It’s a simple as writing it down in your favorite note-taking app (like Evernote, of course!). Here’s my list:

  • 2018 Metal treble clef bookmark
  • 2017 Ceramic snowman ornament with music notes
  • 2016 White Mess Puppy chow with Japanese Piano Eraser attached
  • 2015 Black sparkly music ornament
  • 2014 Bag of puppy chow
  • 2013 Hot chocolate mix
  • 2012 Hershey symphony bar

All of these items (except 2018) were shared in my original gift-giving post. 


More Ideas

Last year I gave my students these Metal Treble Clef Bookmarks

At $13.00 for a pack of 10, you can’t go wrong for such a cute but economical gift! 

BONUS: The tassel almost makes them feel like an ornament and they come in a cute little box!

Continue reading

Friday Finds #149



Sara Bareilles – “Saint Honesty” This one practically gives me chills every time I listen to it. Play it while you keep reading. Your ears, mind, and heart will thank you.



13 videos that will introduce your students to “spooky” classical music. (Piano Pantry)



In Friday Finds #147, I mentioned that I was going to purchase one of the artificial arrangements from Target’s new fall line.

Getting nice artificial plants can be tricky and this one did not disappoint! It was a bonus when I found out there were two different sizes! (Yes, I got them both!)

Artificial Goldenrod Arrangement in Ceramic Pot Yellow/White – Threshold 16.5″ x 10″ and 11″ x 10″ (pictured)



9 Ideas for You Piano Studio  Chalkboard / Whiteboard (Color in My Piano)



Halloween Favorites: Games, Resources, Graphics, and More (Piano Pantry)



I don’t watch many random videos on Facebook, but my husband introduced me to The Bus Brother. Have you heard of this?

A brother who wanted to do something special to create memories his last year living at home before going off to college decided to dress up every afternoon to welcome his younger brother off the bus. How special is that?!



Which Drink is Best For Hydration? Hint: It isn’t Water. (CNN)



Get a free download of Leila Viss’s arrangement of “Doxology” with the purchase of a studio license of one of my favorite arrangements of “It Is Well.” (Piano Pantry)



We love this coffee.

Lavazza Super Crema Whole Bean Coffee Blend, Medium Espresso Roast, 2.2 Pound (Amazon)




Reading this felt a little bit like a therapy session (in a good way!): It’s So Much More than Cooking (The Week)



Whether you’re a person of faith or not, I think most of us could relate to at least the opening few paragraphs of this: The God Who Asks.

To be honest, I often long to leave social media for good but feel the conflict of also needing to be present for what I need/want to do with my studio business and even on here with you.

Summer, perhaps might be a good time to check out, just once…



Coming from our kitchen recently:

“British” Baked Potatoes (The Kitchn)

BLT Panzanella Salad (Pinch of Yum)

No-Bake Energy Bites (King Arthur Flour)

Butter-Bath Corn on the Cob (Spicy Southern Kitchen)



Stay tuned next week for a special Friday Finds as we’ll be celebrating 150 posts!


Please note that Piano Pantry is a participant in the Amazon Associates Program. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Simply put, being an associate allows me to make a small percentage from Amazon on items to which I link at no extra cost to you.

Halloween Favorites

Games, Resources, Graphics, and More

Halloween may be one of my least favorite holidays of the year, but since it’s tied up smack-dab in the middle of my favorite season of the year, it’s doesn’t go completely missed in my studio.

Here is a quick round-up of some of the best Halloween-themed activities and resources I’ve come across over the years.

13 “Spooky” Classical Music Videos
(Amy Chaplin | Piano Pantry)

Classical Music to Attract or Scare your Trick-or-Treater’s
(Joy Morin | Color in My Piano)

Fall and Halloween-Themed Social Media Graphics
(Leila Viss | 88 Piano Keys)

Halloween Candy = Opportunity For Free Marketing
(Joy Morin | Color in My Piano)

Halloween Music Lab
(Amy Chaplin | Piano Pantry)

Shades of Sound Listening & Coloring Book: Halloween
(Jenny Boster | The Playful Piano)

Continue reading

Friday Finds #148

This past week I’ve been feeling a let-down (the good kind, that is). Often, we don’t know how much stress we are under until we’re no longer “under” it and suddenly you realize what it’s like to breathe again. That’s how I’ve been feeling.

There are several factors contributing to this:

  1. In June, I finished my temporary 1-year stint as an interim worship-leader at my church. That was a 10-15 hour/week job.
  2. In July we finally moved out of our unfinished basement and into the main level of our house and had a kitchen after going without for 6 months.
  3. In August we moved my studio out of my office complex and into the (now almost finished) basement of our home. P.S. Working from home is AWESOME. (In the next couple of months I’ll share new studio photos!)
  4. In September I finished my two-year term as President of Indiana music teacher’s association.

Two weeks have passed since the final turn-over and I’m noticing how much more time I have for life!

Not just life, but I actually feel like I have permission to use the time I got back here again. You may not have noticed much missing, but I know how much I’m bursting to do here. So, if the coming months seem like there are more posts than ever, you know why! 🙂

On to all I have for you this week…



Now that I finally have a little more time on my hands, I’m tempted to use Natalie’s link to join The Balanced Life online pilates membership. Does anyone else use this program? I’m curious to hear any more feedback. I did Classical Stretch regularly for a couple of years and loved it, but shaking things up is always a good thing for me. (Music Matters Blog)



How Tim Topham Went From Side-Hustle To Full-Time Musical Pioneer With Content Marketing (CoSchedule Podcast AMP067)



If you use forScore, it is recommended you wait a bit before moving to iOS13.



We asked two of our female editors to wear the same thing every day. Here’s what happened (Fast Company)

If I were to wear the same thing every day, it would be comfortable jeans, comfortable closed shoes of some kind, and a black 3/4 length cotton top kind of like this one.



How to Write by Elizabeth Gilbert (swiss miss)



7 Killed In Crash Of WWII Aircraft At Connecticut Airport. So sad. My husband is an airplane junkie so I heard about this from him. (NPR)



Plácido Domingo Resigns From LA Opera.  (NPR)



An 8-hour playlist of sleep music from Max Richter. I’m going to have to try this on my next trip! (New York Times)



“So, as my homage to Richter’s eight-hour lullaby, here instead are 10 pieces of music not to put you to sleep – 10 pieces that turn falling asleep into a variously magical, creepy or supernatural drama.” -Tom Service (The Guardian)



After 2-3 weeks of working my way through my back-log of Milk Street recipes, I deemed this week and next “clean-out-the-fridge-and-pantry” week.

We had a colleague/friend of Drew’s and his wife over for dinner last Friday though and I made Ina Garten’s awesome lasagna (with Italian sausage; I can’t find turkey sausage) and Milk Streets French Apple Cake.

Saturday mornings are deemed “special breakfast” mornings in our household. Breakfast isn’t my thing during the week, but I’m sad if we miss it on Saturdays. Last Saturday was our favorite waffle recipe (Gaufres de Liege). 

This is my waffle iron of choice.


What’s your favorite weekend breakfast item/recipe?


Please note that Piano Pantry is a participant in the Amazon Associates Program. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Simply put, being an associate allows me to make a small percentage from Amazon on items to which I link at no extra cost to you.


A New Halloween-Themed Music Lab

A new lab has been added to the Music Lab Shop!

Introduce students to “spooky” classical music with this fun Halloween-themed lab!

Four pages long, this lab guide accompanies the (free) Halloween Videos series published here on Piano Pantry. Comprised of 13 videos, there’s over an hour of listening for your students to enjoy!

This lab sheet gives students brief and easy-to-digest background information on the piece followed by a reflection question.

For years my Halloween music lab was comprised of just a few videos students did the week or two leading up to Halloween. They were asked to write out their answers to the questions on the lab sheet but I found it kind of annoying to have to go in and “grade” their lab assignments.

It wasn’t that I was giving them a grade or score, but I was mostly just making sure they gave the right answers. If they didn’t, then (as a teacher should), I felt like I should go over it with them during their next lesson. That was all just waayyy more than what I wanted labs to be.

It’s important to me that lab assignments are enrichening for students while being as low-maintenance ongoing for me as possible. 

In order to avoid teachers having to “grade” the lab, the reflection question is intended for them to use simply to ponder and listen actively.

The student also rates the video, which serves both as a way for students to reflect on how the piece made them feel and to track the pieces that they’ve listened to in the lab.

If you only have students do this lab for a week or two leading up to Halloween then you might be able to use it with students two or three years in a row depending on how long your lab time is!

Add this lab to your cart now, or find it (along with other music labs in the shop).


The Piece My Students and I Can’t Stop Playing

Do you ever come across a piece of music that grabs you so deeply that you never tire of playing it?

Over the past year, I’ve experienced this with one particular piece that I would like to share with you today.

Initially, I purchased it for myself as a fresh addition to my church repertoire stash. Even if I don’t have immediate intentions of using a digital download for students, I almost always purchase a studio copy just to be safe.

I’m so glad I did with this one especially because I loved it so much I’ve been handing it out like candy to every student that was willing/interested!

Continue reading

Friday Finds #147

Fall time is here! Does anyone say “autumn” anymore? I kind of wish we did because it’s a much lovelier term. In August we had many days that felt like the new season had arrived and I was wingeing because I wasn’t ready.

On a side note, I just Googled the term “wingeing” because I wasn’t sure if it was spelled right. It also felt a little strange and I wasn’t sure why. Google reminded me it’s because it’s a slang term that is used more in Australia (where I lived for 3 years). Sometimes little things like that just become a part of you!

Now that we’re at the end of September, I’m ready to welcome the slightly cooler air, shorter days, and long sleeve shirts. Iced coffee is seeing its final days and I’m beginning to dream of warm drinks in the evenings curled around the fire. Over the next few days, one of my tasks is to pull out my tiny collection of fall decorations.

Alas, it is time to hand you my offerings for the week and let you take what you like and leave the rest behind.



Here is a great resource on composition with Wynn-Anne Rossi. The YouTube playlist features 14 episodes! (Alfred Music Piano)



I just finished a wonderful book by Canadian chef/author Laura Calder called “The Inviting Life.” It’s about home-keeping, entertaining, etc. so at one point she mentions the website Debretts. It feels so posh! LOL. I’m following them on Instagram now for fun.



The Internet Can’t Decide Whether This Hard-Boiled Egg Instant Pot Hack is Brilliant or Terrifying (The Kitchn)

Looks kind of gross to me, but it does make sense. Who cares what it looks like if you’re planning to just chop the eggs for salads, etc?



My Favourite Podcasts for Music Teachers (Colourful Keys)

Continue reading